Editor’s note: The name of the journalist in this story has been changed for his protection.
Shahid’s eyes fill with tears as he recalls his story of persecution and imprisonment for a crime he says he didn’t commit in Pakistan’s Peshawar region. A famous journalist in northern Pakistan, he and his newspaper were accused of blasphemy against Islam, a charge he vehemently denies.
Denials rarely stop persecution or the punishment.
“It’s as if they took my soul,” he says, wiping his eyes. “They crushed my will and have left me less than the man and journalist I used to be.”